I wrote my first book when I was about four or five. It was called The Blue Stallion (there was a black stallion, and a white stallion, so I figured, why not a blue one?), and was about five pages long. The stallion fought a mountain lion, and was victorious. I even illustrated it myself, showing a faith in my artistic ability that I lost not too long after that.

I always loved books, and always knew I wanted to write them. But I remember precisely when I consciously decided that it was going to be my job, not just one of the many varied and wondrous activities I was going to engage in while living my magnificent life (cowboy, spy, zoologist, astrophysicist, movie star…). I was in fourth grade, and I read Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Fog Horn” in an anthology. The story evoked such emotion, such a sense of deep eternal sadness, that it overwhelmed me. I’d always loved to read, and read damn near constantly, but that was the first time I truly grokked the true power of literature. And I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to it.

After that, I did, at least while growing up. I was always reading, but also always writing. I kept a bunch of stories going all at once, the same way I read, and as a result of both activities I actually managed to learn how to write. Then I grew up and started my lifetime of depressed procrastination. That’s another story though, and sad to say, I’m gonna put off writing it.

All this is preamble to a special holiday gift I’m gonna give you, which is a story I wrote in seventh grade, and is, far as I can tell, the earliest work of mine I still have on hand. I wrote it for a writing contest at a local college, and in the weeks leading up to the event, I boasted to everyone I could that I was going to win first place. I annoyed everyone with my arrogance so much I had them rooting for my downfall. Then the day came, and I won first place, which probably did not improve me as a human being, but did boost the ol’ ego (which actually needed the boost a great deal, confident as I was in my writing).

After this success, I had my first experience with an actual editor. I started writing a serialized space opera tale in the school newspaper, in which the heroes travelled the spaceways in a craft driven by a Bussard ramjet, named after Robert W. Bussard, the scientist who envisioned it. In spite of repeated protests from me, the editor changed it, every damn week, into a Buzzard ramjet, because, after all, Bussard wasn’t a word (and still isn’t, according to my spellcheck, which ironically doesn’t even offer up buzzard as a possible correction).

But I digress. Here, for your enjoyment or derision, is  a science fiction story by the thirteen year old me, uncorrected in any way despite many strong impulses. Merry Christmas. Continue reading